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Monday, September 12, 2011

D23 Expo Days 2

I’ll be posting an overall view of how the Expo ran later, but for now, here are the highlights.

Well the Disney Geekfest, known as the D23 Expo got underway on Friday.  Three lines had already formed up when we arrived at 6:30 for an 8:00 AM early entry for D23 members.  One for the Sorcerer’s Apprentice ticket holders one Premiere people, and one for General D23 Ticket holders.  The line for the general D23 members was already stretching from the front doors of the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) down to the end of the building down towards Katella.  With no one yet in place to direct the queue, people chose their own directions and the line began doubling back on itself up the sidewalk toward the ACC entrance until it started to interfere with the line positions for the Sorcerers and Premieres.  Enter security staff to direct the attendees out through the ACC plaza on Katella.  As the line for these D23 devotees continued to grow, it zigged and zagged across the plaza in a serpentine mass of bodies out to the fountain.  It was just barely 7:00AM.  Poor… poor Sam was attending on a general ticket, while Mom and I had Premiere tickets, so we were keeping her company in the general line.  Being the social butterfly that I can be, I left Pam and Sam in the general members’ line and charted off to see if I saw anyone else that I knew.  Stopped to talk with a few people I’ve met up at the Museum.  Got a chance to walk and talk with the Disney Geek for a few minutes, and generally walked up to the entrance to the convention center.  That’s when I spied the fourth line, the general admission line off by themselves on the other side of the entrances.  Guess, someone didn’t want to sully the pre-ticketed members gathering with the unwashed masses (said with tongue in cheek J )  So it was back to the pair I left in the other line.  When I arrived back, this line had grown to encompass the entire plaza out to Katella and down the street some.  The girls told me to go ahead and head up to the Premiere line so I could get something to eat and get us a spot in line for the first presentation of the day.  I of course complied.  The 8:00AM early entry time came and went, finally close to 8:30 we were allowed in.  Not a great start to this day, but the first presentation of morning was really good.

First presentation of the day was that on Don Ballard’s “History of the Disneyland Hotel.”  I recently met Don online through another friend’s Facebook group, and it turns out Don and I only live a few miles apart in Northern California.  Don has amassed a great deal of knowledge about the Disneyland Hotel and the Wrather’s who built and own it.  I’m not going to go into details about Don’s work, he done a far better job in his books than I ever could, beside… he has pictures!  J  But Don’s presentation was peppered with rarely seen video footage highlighting the Hotel and the Wrathers.  Again, my word pale in comparison to witnessing these videos.  But, if you have interest in the little 5 Star resort that sprang out of an orange grove, I highly recommend Don Ballard’s work, “Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove.”  Also, thank you to MiceChat for hosting Don at their booth in the Collectors Forum; otherwise, I’d have missed meeting him in person.

Sam head off to do her own thing and we headed down to attend the Legends ceremony which we wound up missing because of some miscommunications, more on that in a later post, so we head up to Christmas in August – a preview of this seasons Prep and Landing.  If you’re as big and fan of Christmas as me, and Disney fan to boot, you’re going to want watch Lanny, Wayne, and the Prep and Landing team do their thing for this Christmas.  The session was hosted by the Disney Geek – Jeffrey Epstein.  After a few sneak previews, Jeffrey was joined on stage by the directors; Stevie Wermer-Skelton and Kevin Deters (also the writers), and producer Dorothy McKim, later to be joined by Musical Director; Micheal Giacchino, and the voice talents of Chris Parnell and Dave Foley, to discuss the making of the latest installment of Prep & Landing.  All the panelists pretty much agree to being influenced by the great Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special from their childhood.  I too remember those fondly and still pull out the DVD’s during the Christmas season along with other classic like the Disney Santa Clause movies.  Prep & Landing will be added to this collection of holiday viewing, which reminds me…  Yikes!!! That Holiday Season rapidly approaches.  At the end of the session everyone was instructed to check under their chairs for a possible special surprise…  Pam won!!! NOTHING???  turned out to be a leftover from some other event.  L  More on this in my upcoming overall impressions post.

Finally presentation of the day for us was the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  It was a great presentation, but it started about 30 minutes late and finished on time, so I kind of wonder what got left out?  We heard about the reboot of Fantasyland and Walt Disney World, and I looking forward to seeing it someday.  The concept art looks really interesting.  But, it’s not my home park.  We heard about the groundbreaking for Disneyland Shanghai, but, it’s not my home park.  Heard some great things about other resorts news, and some kid won a trip for 4 to the new Aulani resort in Hawaii.  COOL!!!  But, what about Anaheim?  Disneyland resort, that’s home.  Carsland is cool, and the concert art is great.  The progress video was neat.  But, I can’t see new for Disneyland.  Fantasy Faire, sure, but what about Tomorrowland?  Tomorrowland is in need of serious attention.  Somebody get Tony Baxter on the phone and give him a budget.  Presentation was good, but nothing exciting or that I didn’t already know about.

By the time the Parks and Resorts presentation let out, the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament queue was filled and closes, and there were informal lines forming for the next event in that venue.  Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastics, no surprise there was big demand for that one.  So we head back to the hotel to rest up for next day, hearing rumors that the Expo had sold out for Saturday as we were leaving.

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